Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 86

The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 86
Old Town. Classes start. Dr. Etsitty.

Yesterday, Saturday, had been crazy. We’d stopped at Mrs. Benallie’s shop on the way to the apartment, and some guy had tried to steal the camera bag with some of the silver jewelry in it. I think he thought that there was a camera in it. Well, I stopped him, and then we met two Santa Fe County Sheriff's deputies.

After we were out of that mess, we finished the drive to Albuquerque. I was so mad at myself for setting the camera bag down that I was ready to put all the jewelry in the safe and weld the safe shut. But calmer heads prevailed, Amy calmed me down. And she suggested that we find someplace to watch a sunset. That place was an hours drive and five-thousand feet higher then we are in Albuquerque. But it was worth the trip. But what was even better was finding a drive-in afterward that served ginger ale milkshakes and great fries. Now if their hamburgers are just as good.

Sunday was a work on the apartment day. Finish putting things away, decide what we wanted to do in the bedrooms, wash clothes, read, and take another walk around campus just looking at things. I know it’s a little boring, but it goes with married life and being in a new place. After dinner, we took a drive and found another city park with a nice trail, so we took a mile and a half walk.

Monday morning we went downtown and parked at the department store. But before we went in, we wandered around seeing what was what. We saw some interesting shops that we’d check out later. When we were back at the department store, Amy found the drapes for the bedrooms that she wanted, a couple of pillows for the spare bed, and some pictures of local scenery for the walls.

We took the things that we’d purchased home, and hung the drapes and pictures. Then we decided to go out for dinner. We’d heard that the Old Town part of Albuquerque was supposed to be interesting. So after lunch, we changed to go to Old Town. I’d been Tom all day and decided to continue to be Tom. But the Navajo version.

I left my hair in the man’s ponytail and put on one of the plain leather headbands. And dug out the white linen pants that we’d bought, and I’d never worn, and the ribbon shirt. I also replaced my everyday studs with the fancier ones that we’d gotten from Mrs. Benallie’s shop. I went with the bone Concho choker, my Concho belt, and one of the silver and turquoise bracelets. And last but not least I put on my wrap moccasins.

Amy looked at me, and said, “You look sharp. But … ”

“But, what?”, I asked.

“I wouldn’t use a headband like that. What you need is one of those cloth headbands like your uncle wears.”

“Yeah. But I was thinking of just wearing my cowboy hat.”

“That might look good, too. But I’d still lose the headband.”

I removed the headband, got my cowboy hat and put it on. Then Amy said, “Not bad. The cloth headband would be better, but the cowboy hat works."

Amy had on one of her fancy blouses, her velvet skirt, and her new wrap moccasins. She wore her Concho belt, one of the pairs of silver feather earrings, one of the beaded chokers, a couple of the silver and turquoises rings, and a silver bracelet. Her hair was straight, and she put on my favorite headband. The braided leather one with the two feathers that hung down.

I looked at her, smiled, and said, “Talk about looking sharp.”

“Would you change anything?”, Amy asked.

I looked at her, thought for a second, and said, “Your hair color.”

“You’d like to see me with black hair. Wouldn’t you?”


“We’ll see.”

We drove to Old Town, and just drove around looking at it. Finally, we parked and joined everyone else walking in Old Town. And I knew, that we were being looked at because of the way we were dressed.

We walked into a pottery shop and loved some of the things we saw, and Amy said, “You know a few pieces of pottery might look nice in the apartment.”

Then in Navajo, I said, “Remember what we found out about the clothes.”

“Yes.”, Amy replied in Navajo. “That it's possible that it wasn't locally made. We may want to talk with Aunt Ruth before we buy anything.”

We walked out of the shop and continued walking the plaza, window shopping, and we found a basket and rug shop. Again we saw things that we loved, but just like with the pottery we were apprehensive without talking with someone first.

Next, we found a jewelry shop, and I thought that the man running it was Navajo. He looked to be about Sike Yazzie age. And he said, “Yá’át’ééh.”

I automatically returned a “Yá’át’ééh.”

“Oh. You are Navajo.”

“Yes. Partially.”

“I see you embrace the culture.”

“Yes, I feel good doing it.”

Then he said, in Navajo, “But I see that your blond friend isn’t Navajo.”

Amy tossed him a curve when she said in Navajo, “No, I’m not Navajo. But I embrace the culture just the same.”

“Oh! I’m sorry Miss. I shouldn’t have assumed.”

Amy just smiled.

“I see that you also know good silver. And it appears to be old silver.”

“Yes.”, I replied. “It is old.”

“May I see.”

“Sure.”, I said, as I removed my Concho belt and handed it to him.

He turned it over and looked at it. I knew what he was looking for. He then walked over to a book, looked through it, and said, “I thought so.”

I looked at him, and said, “Kilchii Nez.”

“Yes. How did you know.”

“He’s my great-great-grandfather.”

“I’ve heard about this. I’ve heard that there is a Nádleeh that is related to him and has many pieces of his work. But the Nádleeh is a girl.”

“What does Nádleeh mean?”

“The one is changing.”

It was my turn to just smile.

He smiled like he knew what I meant. Then he looked closer at the belt, and said, “You have made my day by allowing me to see and hold this. You do have more of his work?”

“Yes. This choker is his, as are our bracelets.”

“Do you know who the artist is that did the belt that the young lady is wearing?”

“Sike Yazzie.”

“I should have known. It looks like Sike's work.”

As he handed the belt back to me, he said, “Thank you for allowing me to examine the belt. I’ll tell Sike that I met you.”

“Please don’t. He doesn’t know that we’re back in town yet, and we want to surprise him.”

“I won’t tell him. But it’ll be hard. What’s your name?”

“My Navajo name is Kai Nez. And my friend is Ajie Nez. And your name is?”

“Ahiga Biakeddy.”

“Ah. Any relation to Yiska Biakeddy?”

“Yes. Paul, he’s my cousin. How do you know him?”

“He’s my uncle. He’s married to my mother’s sister.”

“I meet a relative and find that he’s a Nádleeh. Are you in town for long?”

“For a couple of years. We’re both doing our college master’s work here.”

“So I may see you again?”

“It’s possible. And you may even meet Kai.”

“I thought you were Kai.”

“My name is Tom. Kai is my female Navajo name.”

“Oh. I’d like to meet her.”

“I think you just might do that one day. We’ve got to run Mr. Biakeddy. So, hágoónee' (see you later).”

“Please, Cousin Ahiga.”

“Okay. Hágoónee', Cousin Ahiga.”

“Hágoónee', Cousin Kai and Cousin Ajie.”

As we walked out of the door, Amy said, “That was interesting?”

“Yes.”, I replied. “You threw him a curve when you answered him in Navajo.”

“I’m glad your mom was such a perfectionist when she was teaching us.”

We walked some more and stopped at the San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church. It’s an old church, built in 1793 and still in use. We looked around for a little while and then started looking for a place for dinner.

We didn’t have to look far, right across the street from the Old Town Plaza was the La Placita Dining Rooms. As we walked in, I was amazed as to how thick the walls were. The walls looked to be about four feet thick and made of abode. And the building was built sometime before 1880. They seated us in the main dining room which is an indoor plaza or placita with a large tree growing out through the roof.

Right off the waiter brought us chips and salsa and asked if we wanted anything from the bar. We’re not big drinkers, just wine once in awhile. But Amy asked for a Sangria, and so did I. And the Sangria here is supposed to be homemade.

We decided on fry bread with chicken and beans. And it was great. Then for dessert, we had something that neither of us has had before, fried ice cream.

Everything that we had here was very good, and we’ll be back.

After we’d finished eating, we decided to walk around the plaza some more. So we took a slow walk around the Old Town Plaza. Then we headed for the car and back to the apartment.

On the drive home, I said, “I’ve felt weird all day.”

“A sick kind of weird?”, Amy asked.

“No, more of like Kai should have been here instead of the Navajo version of Tom.”

“Oh. So maybe Kai was feeling slighted?”

“Maybe. I hope that she’ll understand when classes start.”

“I hope she will too.”

“Me too. Because I think I’ll need to be Tom when I’m on campus.”

“It may be best.”

Later that night we called my Aunt Ruth, told her about going to Old Town, and asked her about Uncle Paul’s Cousin Ahiga. Aunt Ruth said that Uncle Paul has a lot of cousins and that Ahiga was one, and that he lives in Albuquerque and does run a small jewelry store in Old Town.

Then I asked about pottery and rugs. And Aunt Ruth asked, “You didn’t buy anything did you?”

“No.”, I replied. “I remembered what you told us about the clothes.”

“Good. Are you coming up Friday?”

“We thought we might.”

“If you stay Friday night I’ll take you to two places near Taos on Saturday that have some nice locally made things at reasonable prices.”

“Near Taos. That would be good. We could stop in and see Mr. Yazzie.”

“Going to pay him back for those rings?”

“Don’t know yet. But I’ll think of something.”

Then we said good night.

Tuesday was the Fourth of July, and we explored Albuquerque some more. Then after dinner, we went to one of the city parks that was having a fireworks show and enjoyed that.

On Wednesday Amy had her first classes, the first one was from ten-thirty until Noon and the second was from one until two-thirty. And that was going to be four days a week, Monday thru Thursday, until almost the end of August. I walked with Amy to her first class, I then ran a quick errand, and then found a place to read. Then between classes, we grabbed lunch. I then walked with her to her second class, and I again ran a quick errand, then found a place to sit and read. After her second class, we walked back to the apartment.

As she sat in the living room reading over her class notes, I ran upstairs and did something. When I came back down, Amy was in the kitchen looking for something to make for dinner. I walked up behind her and tapped her on the shoulder. She turned around and saw me holding an envelope that had, ‘To the Lady Amy’, written on it.

She looked at me, smiled, and said, “What’s this?”

“Happy birthday love.”, I replied.

She took the envelope from me opened it, took the card out, and looked at it. It was one of those silly birthday cards. I had signed it, ‘Your obedient servant, Tommy the Great.’

She looked at me, grinned, and we kissed. When we broke the kiss, she said, “You always did find the funniest cards.”

“Did you see the little card inside?”

As she said, “No.” She looked at the card again, found the little card, read it, grinned, and said, “You are so silly and so sweet.”

I had written, ‘This card entitles the bearer to foot massages on demand for life.’ And I’d signed it, ‘Love, Tommy.’

Then I said, “I haven’t had time to get you anything yet.”

“Honey, you’ve done so much already.”, Amy replied. “You don’t need to get me anything.”

“Yes, I do and I will. And I’m taking you out to dinner tonight.”


“You’ll find out. And we can walk to it. And you don’t have to get dressed up.”

Then I heard something out in front of the apartment. I quickly looked out and saw the mailman walking away from the apartment, and I said, “It looks like we have some mail.”

We both walked out front and took the mail out of the mailbox. There were four letters for Amy, and all looked to be greeting cards. And one letter to both of us.

We went back inside, and Amy opened her cards. They were all birthday cards, one from my parents, one from Amy’s parents, one from Kelly and Larry, and one from Maria and Mark. Both of the cards from our parents had checks in them with a note to buy something nice. The letter that was addressed to the two of us was from my mother, and she had forwarded the letters from the university with our final grades and Amy's letter about being on the President’s Honor List again.

After we looked at all of those, I asked, “What time do you want to have dinner?”

“Oh. Maybe six or so.”, Amy replied.

I looked at the clock, and it wasn’t even four. I took Amy’s hand and pulled her upstairs to our room. When we got there, I said, “My lady, we have time for a foot massage if you so desire.”

Amy grinned, started to undress me, and …

It was just after six when we walked out of the apartment hand-in-hand, and across campus to where there were some stores. We walked down the street, and to Nunzio's Pizza.

We stopped outside and looked in the window, and Amy said, “You found a pizza place this close? Is it any good?”

“Well.”, I said. “It’s supposed to be good and judging by the crowd. It must be.”

“Who told you about it?”

“The girl in the bookstore. I asked if she knew of any good pizza places, and she said the best place in town was Nunzio's Pizza and that it was on Cornell right across Olympia from campus. She told me that on Friday and Saturday nights the line was out the door. So while you were in your afternoon class, I checked it out.”

“You’ve been busy today.”

I just smiled.

We went in and only had to wait fifteen minutes for a booth. After looking at the menu, which even had some Mexican pizza’s on it, we ordered our favorite, a large cheese pizza with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, green olives, and green peppers. We also ordered salads.

All I can say is that this pizza rivaled the one at home where my dad liked to go. We ended up taking half the pizza home to have for dinner on another day.

On Thursday morning, I walked Amy to her morning class, found a place to read, then we ate lunch together on campus. Then I walked her to her afternoon class, found a place to read, and then we walked back to the apartment together. I didn’t run any errands, but if I continue to do all this reading every day that Amy has classes I’m going to have to visit the university's library or find a good used bookstore to help build our library.

During dinner on Thursday evening, Amy surprised me when she asked, “Do you still want me to dye my hair black?”

“Ah. Yeah. But only if you want to.”

“We still have that second box of hair dye that we bought for you, so we could do it tonight.”

“You want to do it. Don’t you?”

A little while later Amy was no longer a blond.

Friday after breakfast we went grocery shopping. Then after we’d put everything away, we walked over to the university. Our first stop was at the registrar’s office, and we had them make copies of our final undergraduate transcripts for their records.

Then we went over to the College of Nursing’s Dean’s Office. When we walked in the girls at the desk, asked, “Can I help you?”

“Yes.”, Amy said. “I’m Amy Young, and Dr. Etsitty wanted me to drop off a copy of my final transcript when I received it. And I just received it.”

“Yes, Miss. Let me call her.”

The girl called Dr. Etsitty and told her that we were there. Then as she hung up the phone, the girl said, “Have a seat. Dr. Etsitty will be right out.”

We sat and waited a few minutes, then Dr. Etsitty walked into the outer office. We stood, Dr. Etsitty gave Amy a curious look and said, “Hello, Amy. It’s nice to see you again.”

Amy smiled, and said, “It’s nice to see you again too, Dr. Etsitty.”

“Give your transcript to my secretary, Sara, and she can make a copy of it, and if you have a few minutes could you come back to my office.”

“We have some time.”

Amy handed the transcript of her grades to Sara, and we followed Dr. Etsitty back to her office. As she closed her door, she asked, “Amy, is the new hair color a statement?”

“In a way it is.”, Amy replied. “It helps me feel that I’m a part of the people. Maybe I’m feeling the small part of me that is American Indian.”

“So, you have some Indian blood?”

“Yes, we found out that my fourth great grandmother was a member of the Wampanoag Tribe from New England.”

“And you feel that.”

“Out here, yes. It may have something to do with me feeling my spirit out here.”

“That’s very interesting.”

There was a knock on the door, and Dr. Etsitty said, “Come.”

Sara, her secretary, walked in, and as she handed some papers to Dr. Etsitty, she said, “Here are the copies that you wanted, Dr. Etsitty.”

As she accepted the copies, Dr. Etsitty said, “Thank you, Sara.”

Sara left, and Dr. Etsitty handed Amy the transcript of her grades, and looked at the copy of the transcript and shook her head.

Amy asked, “Dr. Etsitty, is something wrong?”

“No, Amy, nothing’s wrong.”, Dr. Etsitty said. “It’s not very often that we see grades this good.”

Amy didn’t say anything. I knew that she was a little embarrassed.

“Is something wrong, Amy.”, Dr. Etsitty asked.

“No.”, Amy said.

“Dr. Etsitty.”, I said. “It sometimes embarrasses Amy when her grades are mentioned.”

“Amy.”, Dr. Etsitty said. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed. You should be proud of your accomplishments. It took a lot of work on your part, and it shows your dedication to your field of study.”

Amy looked at Dr. Etsitty for a short time, then said, “You’re right, Dr. Etsitty. I shouldn’t be embarrassed.”

“Now.”, Dr. Etsitty said. “I’ve also seen the issue of the Navajo Times with the two of you on the front page. All I can say is that you and Kai are special. Did you do that presentation because of what chief what’s his name did.”

“Chief Peshlakai.”, Amy replied. “Yes, partially. But mostly, it was done to recognize Dibe.”

“Why her?”, Dr. Etsitty asked.

“Kai feels that Dibe will accomplish anything that she tries to do. And that she deserves the recognition.”

“Can Kai feel things like that?”

“At times, yes.”

“My husband, after he read the Navajo Times article, said that he’d like to meet you two.”

I said, “That’s interesting. We had someone tell us that we should meet your husband.”

“Who said that?”, Dr. Etsitty asked.

“Mr. Tlizilani.”, I replied.

“I don’t know him. Who is he?”

“He’s the reporter from the Navajo Times who wrote that article.”

“I see. Would you like to meet my husband?”

I looked at Amy, and said, “That would be nice.”

“Yes.”, Amy said. “That would be nice.”

“We’re having a cookout at our house on Sunday for some of the nursing school staff that’s here this summer. Would you like to come?”, Dr. Etsitty asked.

“We would, and we should be back by then.”

“Should it be Tom and Amy, or Kai and Amy, or Kai and Ajie?”, I asked.

“I think it would be interesting if it were Kai and Ajie.”, Dr. Etsitty said. “I met Kai a couple of years ago and would like to meet Ajie.”

“And we’ll make copies of those two papers on the Nádleeh and bring them with us.”

“I’d love to read them.”

Before we left, Dr. Etsitty wrote down her address and directions to her house. Then we headed back to the apartment after stopping for lunch.

Back at the apartment, we packed what we’d need for tonight at my aunt and uncle's house. We were going to change into fancy dresses after we were at the resort. And then we headed north.

Two hours later we were pulling into the resort, and as we went to walk into the house, we found the door locked. We figured that they were at the hotel. But since Aunt Ruth had given us a key, we unlocked the door and walked in. We looked around, and no one was home. So we took our things to our room and put the jewelry in the floor safe.

As we walked back out into the main part of the house, my aunt walked in the door. She looked at us, smiled, and said, “I thought that was your car.”

“It is.”, I replied. “Hi, Aunt Ruth.”

“Hi, you two. I see you’ve already made yourselves at home.”

“You did tell us that this was our house.”

“I did. And it is. So how was last week?”

We filled my aunt in on everything that went on. When we told her about going to the La Placita Dining Rooms, she said that it was a good place. Good food at a reasonable price. And when we mentioned that we were up to Sandia Crest, Aunt Ruth said she’d never been up there. We told her that we’d have to take her up there sometime.

We then went back to our room and started getting ready for the barbecue. Amy was going with a long skirt and velvet blouse, and I was going with the white Biil dress. Both of us were wearing wrap moccasins. I put my hair into two braids with fancy wraps at the ends and my favorite braided leather headband with the feathers. Amy or now Ajie went with a straight hair look and one of the beaded headbands. Both of us wore the silver feather earrings.

Ajie went light on the jewelry, Concho belt, a bracelet, a beaded choker, and two rings. On the other hand, I went all out. A Concho belt, one of the Squash Blossom necklaces, the bone Concho choker, two bracelets, and a couple of rings.

When we walked out into the kitchen, my aunt was there dressed in a long skirt, a fancy blouse, wrap moccasins, and some jewelry. She saw us, and said, “You girls really like to dress up. Don’t you?”

“Aunt Ruth.”, I said. “We like to look our best. Besides we don’t get to dress up much.”

The three of us walked towards the barbecue area just as the dancers were walking the same way. We saw Dibe, and she looked cute in her dance regalia. She spotted us, ran over and gave us hugs. Then she said, “I’m so glad that you came back to see us.”

I smiled, and said, “Dibe, you’re going to get tired of seeing us.”

“Never. I like you guys too much.”

“I’ll tell you a little secret.”


I whispered, “We like you too.”

Then Amy said, “Dibe, are you still asking guests to come out so that you can teach them to dance?”

“Of course. Why?”, Dibe asked.

“Two of our friends will be out here next week, and I’d like you to choose them.”

“Sure. Just be sure that I know who they are.”

“We will.”

“I’ve got to run. We need to start dancing.”

“Well see you later.”

Ajie and I started walking around talking to the guests. They asked us about what we were wearing, about our jewelry, and about the Indian people.

My uncle walked up to us, and said, “Hi, girls. I’m glad you could make it tonight.”

“Hi, Uncle Paul.”, Ajie and I said. “You know we wouldn’t miss one of these barbecues.”

“I know. Kai, come with me. I have something for you to do.”

I hadn’t seen it, but Uncle Paul had winked at Ajie.

I told my uncle, “Sure. What do you need?”

“Come with me, and I’ll show you.”

“Go on, Kai. I’ll find your aunt.”, Ajie said.

I walked away with my uncle, and we headed to where the musicians where. My uncle picked up the microphone, …


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